May 01 2018

Bria Dunn

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Professional Goal Statement

It is my goal to practice as a confident, competent, and compassionate physical therapist in the outpatient setting in North Carolina. I have a particular interest in orthopedics, and plan to pursue an orthopedic physical therapy residency, while still appreciating the generalist background my entry-level education affords me. I am committed to achieving clinical excellence and enhancing the quality of patient care delivered by becoming an Orthopedic Clinical Specialist. Through clinical practice and participation in the NCPTA and APTA, I also hope to increase professional diversity for the benefit of underrepresented patient populations and aspiring minority physical therapists.


Career Plan


  • May 2015: Graduated with Bachelor of Arts degree in Exercise and Sport Science and a second major in Psychology, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • August 2015: Began DPT program with an expected August 2018 graduation date, UNC-Chapel Hill

Clinical rotations:

  • June 2016-August 2016 (8 weeks): Outpatient orthopedics— UNC Therapy Services at Meadowmont, UNC Healthcare/Chapel Hill
  • March 2017-April 2017 (8 weeks): Neurological pediatrics— Haynes-Inman Education Center, Guilford County Schools/Jamestown
  • May 2017-June 2017 (8 weeks): General acute care in an underserved community—Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital/Elkin
  • May 2018-July 2018 (12 weeks): Outpatient orthopedics—Carolinas Rehabilitation Prosperity Crossing, Atrium Health (formerly Carolinas HealthCare System)/Charlotte


  • July 24/25 2018: Pass National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE) in order to obtain licensure in NC upon graduation
  • August 4, 2018: Graduate with DPT, UNC-Chapel Hill
  • August 2018-September 2018: Procure job in desired setting in Charlotte, NC area
  • January 2019: Begin application process for orthopedic physical therapy residencies
  • January 2020: Begin orthopedic physical therapy residency
  • March 2020: Pass Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) examination
  • January 2021: Begin serving as a clinical instructor (CI) for PT/PTA students and identify additional opportunities to mentor aspiring minority physical therapists
  • Spring 2023: Severe as leadership team member for UNC DPT’s annual service learning trip to Guatemala




  • Works well with patients of all ages, from different backgrounds and across different settings
  • Intra- and inter-professional behaviors for participation in team-based environments
  • Genuine interest in continued/constant learning on the pursuit of clinical excellence

Areas for professional development:

  • Greater participation in state and national professional organizations (NCPTA and APTA) and on behalf of professional issues/interests
  • Expand understanding of billing practices and financial management across all settings
  • Improve clinical reasoning for evaluating and treating patients with complex orthopedic presentations
  • Improve Spanish proficiency for evaluating and treating Spanish-speaking patients



Special areas of interest:

  • Outpatient orthopedics, especially lower extremity pathologies and post-operative rehabilitation
  • Injury prevention for non-athletes and athletes, especially cheerleaders, gymnasts and dancers
  • Treating patients with histories of psychological disorders or significant psychosocial contributors
  • Improving general health literacy in underrepresented patient populations


  • Prepare, sit for and pass the NPTE in July 2018
  • Graduate with DPT in August 2018
  • Secure full-time job in desired setting in Charlotte, NC by the end of September 2018
  • Complete relevant continuing education courses in the areas of pain science and dry needling among others
  • Complete orthopedic residency and sit for Orthopedic Clinical Specialist exam in March 2021
  • Become CI or lecture DPT students in an area of experience/expertise

Specific strategies:

  • Develop and adhere to study
  • Maintain relationships with past CIs and establish mentorship with experienced PT(s) in special area(s) of interest
  • Maintain membership with APTA and Orthopedic Section
  • Apply to orthopedic residency in early 2019


Electives, Experiences, and Examples

Fall 2017:

  • PHYT 754: Research Experience (1 hour)
  • PHYT 875: Advanced Orthopedic Assessment/Intervention (3 hours)
  • PUBH 610: Introductory Spanish for Health Professionals (3 hours)

 Spring 2018:

  • PHYT 870: Integrated Clinical Experience (1 hour) with adult neurological patient population
  • PHYT 875: International Service Learning Trip (1 hour) to Guatemala

Product examples:

  1. The Prevalence of Implicit Biases in Practicing Physical Therapists and Strategies for Improvement
  2. Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome


Reflective Statement

Completing my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree at UNC-Chapel Hill is a dream realized. Although I initially entered my undergraduate studies at UNC with the plan to major in chemistry and pursue a PharmD, I soon learned that this plan no longer matched my academic or professional interests. I became familiar with the physical therapy profession while exploring potential career paths as an Exercise and Sport Science major and was able to secure a weekly volunteer opportunity at University Physical Therapy, the faculty clinic. This experience solidified my interest in the physical therapy profession and, more specifically, UNC’s DPT program.

As a physical therapy student at UNC, I have been challenged to grow professionally and personally through didactic coursework and clinical rotations across various settings. Our faculty, experts in academia and clinical practice, foster a foundation for clinical excellence that my clinical instructors have played an instrumental role in furthering. To my surprise, my 4 clinical rotations have taught me as much about myself as they have clinical practice. I have had the chance to explore interests in orthopedics and pediatrics across the state of North Carolina with the support of Dr. Dana McCarty, our Director of Clinical Education.

Dana has also played an integral role in my life by allowing me to collaborate on original research about the Prevalence of Implicit Bias in Practicing Physical Therapists. This has opened up unimaginable professional opportunities to share our work as providers begin to acknowledge the detrimental effects and combat implicit biases in healthcare. Personally, this project has fulfilled me as a minority in the profession and as someone with an interest in serving other underrepresented patient populations. Regardless of which practice setting or geographical location that I end up working in, I am proud to carry this work forward as a small reflection of the many things I have learned and ways I have grown during UNC’s DPT program.

One response so far

One Response to “Bria Dunn”

  1.   Lisa Johnstonon 18 Jun 2018 at 7:40 am

    Bria: Great job on your portfolio. I am excited to see where you will go in the coming years. I am also looking forward to your return to be leadership to Guatemala! 😉 Stay in touch! Lisa


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